Study Connects Talcum Powder and Ovarian Cancer

New Study Shows Link Between Talcum Powder Use and Ovarian Cancer Risk

talcum powderA new study published in November 2013, conducted by Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, showed that regular talcum powder use can be linked to a higher risk of developing ovarian cancer.

Talcum powder is a substance used often in cosmetics and body powders, and is derived from a chalky white mineral called talc. The base mineral in talc is hydrous magnesium silicate, and is often found close to deposits of asbestos, which US regulators have deemed a carcinogen. However, strict regulations since 1976 have prevented asbestos from appearing in talcum powder products.

Despite the regulations, however, reports of ovarian cancer’s link to regular talcum powder use have increased in the past few decades. Previous studies showed some link between ovarian cancer and talcum powder use, but the findings were considered statistically insignificant.

The latest study from Brigham and Women’s, however, shows that women who regularly apply talcum powder after showering increase their risk of developing an ovarian tumor  by 24% – a number that is statistically significant.

Around 40% of women are thought to use talcum powder on a regular basis.

Researchers analyzed data from 8,525 women diagnosed with ovarian cancer, and compared their information to 9,800 women who used talcum powder but were cancer-free.

The researchers stressed that the study subjects used talcum powder in the genital area only.

They focused on genetic variations as well, especially on variations in two genetic regions, glutathione S-transferase M1 (GSTM1) and N-acetyltransferase 2 (NAT2). Although they found an increase in risk for ovarian cancer, and a lesser risk for some invasive cancers, neither gene played a role in the studies. This means that women without these genes are equally at risk.

The link between talcum powder and cancer has been reported and studied for decades, although this recent study is one of the more thorough. A study from 1992, published in the Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology found that weekly use of talcum powder led to a three-fold increase in ovarian cancer risk. A study published in a 1997 edition of American Journal of Epidemiology confirmed the link, and added that genital deodorant sprays with talcum powder could also be linked to ovarian cancer. In 2003, the journal Anticancer Research compiled data from 16 previous studies which involved data from 12,000 women and concluded that perineal baby powder use raised the risk of ovarian cancer later in life by 33%.

In 2008, Harvard epidemiologist Dr. Margaret Gates reaffirmed the 2003 and 1992 studies, stating that her research led to the conclusion that weekly talcum powder use in the genital area raised the risk of developing ovarian cancer by 33%. She also specifically called out Johnson & Johnson’s product Shower to Shower, which she said could lead to a 41% increase in ovarian cancer risk with regular use. She published an addition study on the link between baby powder use and later ovarian cancer risk in 2010.

The Strom Law Firm Can Help with Talcum Powder Personal Injury Cases

If you have been harmed, or a loved one has regularly used talcum powder and has since developed ovarian cancer, the attorneys at the Strom Law Firm can help. You may be entitled to compensation through a personal injury lawsuit. We offer free, confidential consultations to discuss the facts of your case, so contact us today. 803.252.4800.


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